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‘Love-bombing’ added to guidance on prosecuting abusive partners

Written by

Carole Hack

Published on

May 11, 2023

The new guidance on how to prosecute abusive partners for their controlling and compulsive behaviour highlights the act of love-bombing. But what does love-bombing entail? Carole Hack explains the term and how it is a controlling behaviour.

What is Love-Bombing?

Love-bombing is relatively new term in the dating world. Most recently seen on Love Island, love-bombing is a pattern of intense and over emphasised interest shown by an abusive partner. Essentially, bombarding their victim with love.
Whilst the showering of expensive gifts, compliments, and dramatic professions of love, might feel wonderful at the time, the aim of these gestures are to gain power over the victim. Who would have thought that just a simple and seemingly loving act of sending flowers to their partner could be one aspect of a suspect’s abusive behaviour? For me, it’s all about intent. Abusers will love-bomb with the intent of controlling and manipulating the person with whom they are in an intimate relationship.

Other traits of a love-bomber include.

  • That they cannot take ‘no’ for an answer
  • They will try to isolate their victim from friends and family as they want to be the most important person in their partner’s life
  • They may disclose past traumas in their lives very early on in a relationship to make their partner feel sympathy and empathy for them
  • Love-bombers are interested in every detail of their partner’s lives and will often use sensitive information as a means of exploiting and manipulating them
  • They may make grand gestures of moving their relationship forward and try and persuade their partner to commit to that relationship early on and to make the relationship official

Love-bombing tends to be the first stage of a narcissistic cycle of abuse which can escalate to other aspects of their abuse such as devaluing their partner by gaslighting, put-downs, and passive aggression.

Love-Bombing now in the CPS updated guidance

The Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) updated guidance outlines the many subtle ways suspects can manipulate their partners to gain control over their lives. These seemingly small manipulations also help to minimise the possibility of detection and punishment. The guidance now emphasises the need for prosecutors to closely scrutinise the actions of a suspect by taking a ‘suspect-centric’ approach. It advises prosecutors of the different tactics a suspect can use to mislead criminal proceedings or weaken a prosecution case.
Kate Brown, Chief Crown Prosecutor, and national lead for domestic abuse at the CPS said:

“We do not underestimate the impact of stalking or controlling or coercive behaviour on victims who can be forced to change their daily routines, left in fear of their life and totally consumed by this offending.

“Our prosecutors consider all the evidence, including how a suspect’s actions have impacted the victim, to build a picture of their manipulative behaviour and present a robust case in court.

“These controlling offences can quickly escalate and that is why we’re absolutely committed to prosecuting wherever our legal test is met and will always seek out relevant orders to protect victims.”

What to do if you suspect love-bombing?

If any of the tell-tale signs or red flags discussed above ring true to what you or someone you know has experienced, it is important to be honest with yourself. We understand that it can be hard to spot because it looks and feels like what many people want in their relationships: to feel loved and wanted. However, this behaviour is unlikely to improve on its own and continuing in a relationship like this can result in devastating consequences for the victim’s wellbeing and mental health.

About our Family Law team

We have specialist family lawyers who can help you. We can ensure that you and your family are safe and out of any immediate danger from an abusive partner by taking swift action through the courts. You can talk to our family law team in complete confidence by calling 020 8771 5254.

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